MATTOON — Shelby County Junior Legion Post 289/611/725 stumbled out of the starting gate Tuesday at the Mattoon Firecracker Classic, and early mistakes proved to be the difference. Shelby County's four first-inning errors contributed to a five-run opening frame from Moultrie-Douglas County in an eventual 8-2 defeat."I think it was a lot of nerves," Shelby County coach Jim Hutchinson said. "I've got a young team, a lot of kids that haven't played here before."The first-game jitters plagued Shelby County for the better part of six innings, closing with five total errors and eight walks by the pitching staff. The wooden bats were also hard to handle, as Shelby County closed with five hits, two coming in the sixth and final inning."We're not used to playing with wooden bats," Hutchinson said. "We played in one tournament earlier this year, played a doubleheader with them Saturday. It's just the mentality of getting used to playing with the wooden bats." Shelby County left two runners stranded to start the game, but leaving runners on the bags wouldn't be a problem for the opposition. Trevor Moore opened the game with a walk to Daltin Hoel, who reached second of a throwing error from Moore in an attempt to pick off the baserunner.Tommy Watson sent Hoel to third on a bunt single before Nick Bates plated the first Moultrie-Douglas run when a fly ball to right missed a Shelby County glove and fell harmlessly to the field. Zach Bates added a pair with a bases-loaded single to left three batters later to make it a 3-0 game. The final two runs of the first inning were scored off two more Shelby County errors."We always have one bad inning, this time it just had to be the start of the game," Hutchinson said. "That's the difference in the ballgame, they scored right off the bat."The lead was stretched to seven in the third. Moore walked three consecutive batters after getting Griffin Day to ground out to shortstop, closing his day on the hill after allowing six hits over 2.1 innings with two strikeouts and five walks.Nic Hutchinson hit Nick Bates on the first pitch of his relief duty to score a run, and Clayton Turner made it 7-0 with a sacrifice fly to center field.The tables turned on Moultrie-Douglas in the sixth, when Shelby County scored two utilizing a pair of errors. Tristan Warner brought Dylan Ohnesorge home on a ground ball to second that was fumbled and late to first. Trevor Easton sent a ground ball right back to second one batter later, where Dylan Hart again struggled to make the play for Moultrie-Douglas and Jacob Kramer crossed home plate.Held to three hits through the first five innings, Shelby County showed signs of life late, a trait coach Hutchinson said is not foreign to his strong-willed club."This team won't give up," he said. "They've been battling all year. We've had a couple of games where we've been down big and they've come back to make a ballgame out of it, surprised some people. I'll give them credit."Moultrie-Douglas ended the game in the next at-bat when Hart laid down a short grounder that induced a home-plate collision between Luke Armstrong and Shelby County's Kramer. The impact knocked the ball free of Kramer in his attempt to protect the plate for the 8-2 win.Shelby County looked for redemption in the second game of the day against Danville Junior Legion Post 210, but fell victim again to slow start.Danville opened up a 2-0 lead after the first inning, tacking on four more in the fourth en route to a 6-0 win.Shelby County closed with three hits in the second game, a single from Moore and two from Warner.After starting 0-2, Shelby County will look to regroup today against another pair of solid opponents in Rantoul and Macon County. The Rantoul game is scheduled for 10 a.m. at Lake Land College and Macon County will start at 1:15 p.m. at Mattoon High School.
Czachorski: Extra innings intrigue unmatched
Obscenely long baseball games are my kryptonite. Once I get sucked in, it’s impossible for me to stop watching until it’s over. It doesn’t matter if it’s the Cubs, the Cardinals, the Astros or the Mariners — if it’s on TV and it’s going into the twelfth inning or later, you can bet I’m finding a way to tune in.
Newton's season ends in 14-4 loss
Newton Post 20 almost pulled another comeback off against the Orient Miners, cutting a 5-1 deficit to 5-4 midway through Monday night’s game.
But Newton’s Junior Legion Fifth Division tournament run came to an end, as Orient rattled off nine runs in the sixth inning and clinched a spot in the state tournament with a 14-4 win.
Comeback win keeps Post 20 alive in 10-7 win
Newton Post 120 didn’t let a 4-1 deficit get to them against Highland Post 439, using a patient approach in the face of an elimination game.
Three bases-loaded walks in the bottom of the third tied the game at 4-4, and with the bases loaded down 5-4 in the fourth, Tim Weber broke the game open with a two-run double and an error.
By the time the dust settled, Newton led 10-5 heading to the sixth inning and would hold on to a 10-7 win to keep its season alive.
Salem deals Newton first divisional loss
Mitch Bierman started off Newton Post 20’s game against Salem Post 128 with a bang Sunday afternoon, hitting a leadoff triple and scoring on the next batter.
Post 20’s offense didn’t follow his lead from there, as Newton had just three more hits and no runs, and falling in a Junior Legion Fifth Division winner’s bracket game to Salem 12-1 in seven innings.
Newton Post 20 bests Belleville Post 58 in opener 6-1
After a 9-3 loss to Breese Post 252 Gray Monday night, Newton Post 20 coach John Grunloh predicted the five-day break until the Junior Legion Fifth Division tournament would be good for his players, especially his pitchers.Mitch Jansen proved his coach right, spinning a gem in Newton's opener Saturday afternoon as Post 20 made short work of Belleville Post 58 6-1.
Hearts to prep with Mattoon 7-on-7
Two weeks ago, Effingham was supposed to start shaking off the rust with a 7-on-7 football tournament in Mattoon. Naturally, it rained and was canceled.
So Saturday, the Flaming Hearts will head up to Mattoon and play their first 7-on-7 event of the season, taking part in an 10- team field with Mattoon, Rochester, Robinson, Marshall, Cahokia and Pleasant Plains from Illinois, with Terre Haute North and Northview coming from Indiana. Rochester is bringing two squads.
Newton Post 20 plays Belleville Saturday
With the District 23 tournament behind them, Newton Post 20 now knows its fate for the Fifth Division Junior Legion tournament this weekend in Bethalto.
Newton will play Belleville Post 58 at 2:45 p.m. Saturday afternoon in Bethalto, in the third game of six on the day.
Effingham's season comes to a close with 11-1 loss to Salem
A 1-0 lead for Effingham Post 120 rapidly evaporated, and the post’s Junior Legion season came to an end with a 11-1 loss in five innings to Salem Post 128 Tuesday night.
The game was for the final spot of District 23 in the divisional tournament, with Newton Post 20 and Breese Post 252 Gray punching their tickets by winning their district divisions.
Newton Post 20 falls short against Breese Gray 9-3
While the District 23 title ultimately exceeded Newton Post 20’s grasp, their season will continue in Bethalto.
Newton took on Breese Post 252 Gray for the Junior Legion District 23 title as the two division winners, but Breese’s bats proved too much for Newton in an 9-3 loss for Post 20.
“The innings where they put some runs on us, we gave them some extra outs,” said Newton coach John Grunloh. “You’ve got to make the plays when you play better teams.”
Barnes' one-hitter boosts Post 120; Effingham beats Dieterich 1-0
Ryan Barnes hasn’t seen a lot of time with Effingham Post 120’s junior legion team this season, but he showed up in a big way Monday night in a 1-0 win over Dieterich Post 628.
The win kept Effingham’s season alive one more day in the Junior Legion District 23 tournament, as the post will face Salem Post 128 at 5:30 p.m. today for the district’s final spot in the divisional round. Salem Post 128 downed Mt. Vernon Post 141 1-0 in the West Division loser’s bracket, setting up the final with Effingham today.
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